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Feds look to finalize deal with airlines amid contact-tracing concerns

Last Updated Aug 5, 2020 at 11:09 am PDT

Chief Public Health Officer of Canada Dr. Theresa Tam speaks at a news conference on the COVID-19 pandemic on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, on Friday, July 31, 2020. Federal officials in talks with airlines over contact-tracing efforts are trying to sort out how much information companies should provide, and the mechanisms for the data to flow.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
Summary

Concerns about the level of detail airlines provide have been greatest in British Columbia

OTTAWA — As Ottawa and airlines talk about contact tracing, federal officials are trying to sort out how much information companies should provide, and how the data should flow.

Concerns about the level of detail airlines provide have been greatest in British Columbia, where the provincial health officer has lamented a lack of movement from federal officials.

RELATED: Dr. Bonnie Henry says she wishes airlines were more transparent in sharing flight manifests

Canada’s chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam said Tuesday there could be improvements to the data that airlines provide as part of efforts to trace the potential spread of COVID-19.

A federal government official tells The Canadian Press the issue revolves around information collected for domestic flights, with one of the hurdles being finding an agreement that satisfies all parties involved.

RELATED: Show evidence planes still safe without in-flight distancing: B.C. Health Minister

The official wasn’t authorized to speak on the record because efforts are being headed by the Public Health Agency of Canada, which didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

The federal health agency already requires airlines to provide information on travellers arriving on international flights who are subject to strict quarantine rules and Tam says there hasn’t been a confirmed case of in-flight transmission.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 5, 2020.

The Canadian Press